Camila Cabello Becomes The Latest Celebrity To Moonlight As An Investor


It’s rare for Camila Cabello not to be multitasking. So when the coronavirus pandemic began, bringing the projects the three-time Grammy-nominated artist had been juggling to a grinding halt, she took on a new role: early-stage investor.


 The “Havana” singer says she spent much of the spring of 2020 focused on her mental health, learning about the connection between mind and body. “Too much unhealthy eating leads to a myriad of serious health problems including mental health,” says Cabello, who made Forbes’ 30 Under 30: Music in 2019. She wondered, “Rather than try to change the deeply ingrained habit of consuming soda, what if we promoted a healthier alternative?”

 While shopping for groceries at Los Angeles’ Erewhon market, she stumbled upon Olipop: a sparkling tonic that contains prebiotic ingredients to support digestion. After reading about the company’s cofounders—microbiologist Ben Goodwin and marketer David Lester—as well as their deep bench of microbiome and digestive health researchers and clinical trials with Baylor and Purdue, she says, “I knew this was something that I wanted to be involved with.”

And so on February 1, Cabello announced her first major venture investment, participating in Olipop’s $30 million Series B alongside A-list investors including Mindy Kaling, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, the Jonas Brothers and Gwenyth Paltrow, not to mention PepsiCo’s former CEO, Indra Nooyi and noted venture capital investors Anjula Acharia and Rocana Venture Partners.  “Let’s cut to the chase— the traditional soda industry’s high-sugar taste and alluring marketing strategies created a cult following but its mass-consumption led to dire health consequences,” says Acharia. 

The soda maker—which has raised a total of $55.9 million at a $200 million valuation—plans to use this newfound funding to expand the brand’s presence in the $4.5 trillion wellness economy, getting into 20,000 stores, including Whole Foods, Target, Kroger, Safeway and Wegmans, by the end of the year.

Cabello isn’t the first celebrity to moonlight as an investor in recent years. Actors George Clooney and Ryan Reynolds had substantial exits through the recent sales of their alcohol brands Casamigos and Aviation American Gin, as did Jennifer Aniston when Vital Proteins, the collagen supplement company where she served as chief creative officer was acquired by Nestle Health Science. 

 “Celebrities now understand the value they can create for brands through their endorsements that drive sales and want a piece of that upside through equity ownership,” says dealmaker Romitha Mally, former vice chairman of investment banking at UBS and founder of The Mally Collective. And it’s not a trend that seems to be slowing down anytime soon. Jan Rogers Kniffen, a consultant and former retail executive, says the number of celebrity investors nearly doubled between 2018 and 2019, and continued to grow throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Over the last decade there has been more than a tenfold increase in celebrity investing,” Kniffen says. And investments are more meaningful than traditional endorsement deals, which have, among other stipulations, defined start and end dates. 

 “There’s nothing more authentic than being able to say, ‘I like this brand or product so much that I put my own money into it,” says Michael Blank, head of consumer investments for Hollywood’s CAA, where he oversees Connect Ventures, an investment partnership between CAA and NEA. “They are in it for the long run.”    

 For Cabello, who has quietly started to make other investments alongside her advisors, it’s all about getting a seat at the table. “We’re increasingly making that part of the deal,” says her longtime manager Roger Gold, the founder of independent record label 300 Entertainment. “Whatever company it is that we are working with, whether it’s content or something else, ownership is a big piece of it.”  

Still, she’s not quitting her day job anytime soon. “I’m an artist. I’m going to keep making music for the rest of my life,” says Cabello. “That’s my first passion.” 

 

 

 

 

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